We are not big believers in heavy conditioning. Our opponents may spend 35% of their pratice time doing conditioning, while we condition during our regular practice, we don’t set time aside to “condition”. Many youth football players if they know there will be sprints at the end of practice “hold back’ some and do not go all out so they can save enough energy up at the end of practice to do sprints. Too many youth football coaches feel it is their duty to put the kids through as many grueling drills and conditoning exercises as the player can endure. You can condition kids without wasting practice time or running kids off your team.
I have had to deal with this with other coaches in my Eagle Organization, that want to “condition” they blamed a loss on lack of conditioning. My personal teams have never had a problem with it. John Gugliardis� St Johns Division III teams have never had a problem with it either and John is the winningest coach in College Football History and has won countless National Championships.
Quite often the problem is your practice pace. One common problem is a real lack of urgency in practice. My drills and reps are always two to three times the number of reps that most coaches do. There has to be no waste of time or movement during practice and each coach has to have a real sense of urgency about him.
Many youth football teams don’t have their practices or drills well planned out and waste valuable minutes discussing what is to be done that day. If you see a need some additional conditioning, run your plays on air out 20 yards. Have the offense set up with a coach as a marker 20 yards away. All the back ups are in a line right behind our offense. As you run youru offensive plays, the backs go all out for 20 yards, the line takes their first two steps and freezes, unless it is a pulling lineman, the puller goes to his POA and sets up. On a whistle the linemen come out of their two step freeze and run the 20 yards to set up for the next play. We will do this in rapid succession and sub our backups in as well. This gets us reps, subbing practice and conditioning all in one. In the book in chapter 4 we have lots of fun drills that condition without the kids thinking they are getting conditioned, but also help you select the right players for positions.